On January 28, 2006, Union Telephone Company celebrated their 93rd anniversary. Union Telephone Company was incorporated under Wyoming law on January 28, 1914, only 38 years after Alexander Graham Bell spoke those famous words “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!” on the first telephone. Union Telephone Company’s name came from the merging of the Smith’s Fork Mutual Line, the Black’s Fork Telephone Line and the Lonetree-Linwood Telephone Company. The company began operations serving grounded rural lines on a homemade switch that used 30/40 and 30/30 Winchester rifle cartridges as plugs and jacks. In 1946, the Fort Bridger Telephone Company merged with Union Telephone Company. In 1948, John D. Woody, the founder of Union Telephone, had grown well past retirement age and found the company was not producing enough income to support him and his family. The Board of Directors of Union Telephone Company agreed to offer the whole company to AT&T for the sum of $1.00. AT&T refused the offer. As part of the REA loan paperwork, Union sought and received certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity in both Wyoming and Utah.
In 1979, Union installed one of the first two digital switches in the state of Wyoming. This switch presently resides in the Central Office in Mountain View, Wyoming.
In July of 1990, Union Telephone began it’s cellular division under the name of Union Cellular with eight cell sites. Today, Union Cellular covers over 123,611 square miles with 122+ cell sites throughout Wyoming, Northwestern Colorado, and parts of Utah. Union Telephone has expanded their services, offering Internet, Digital Subscriber Line(DSL), and cable TV in some markets.
In April 1994, a sales agreement was made between Union and US West for Union to purchase some of the US West exchanges. This agreement was finalized on October 26, 1994 when Union took possession of the exchanges serving Hanna, Saratoga, LaBarge, Encampment, Rock River, McFadden, and Shirley Basin, Wyoming. These exchanges added to the already served areas of Mountain View, Fort Bridger, Lyman, Urie, and McKinnon, Wyoming; Christmas Meadows, Manila, Dutch John, and Greendale, Utah; and Ladore, Colorado.
Union Telephone bases its successful history on its dedication to being family owned and operated, and prides itself on family values.